Friday Five: happiness, nine-day fortnights, youth voice, a National Skilling Wage, youth home ownership


29th March 2024

1. Young people across Western Europe now as unhappy as older generations, World Happiness Report finds

2024’s World Happiness Report makes for alarming reading on the welfare of young people across Western Europe and North America. The established trend of young people aged 16-25 reporting higher levels of life satisfaction than older generations has reversed across high income countries, with young people now just as unhappy as older age groups. Other findings in this year’s report are that life satisfaction amongst 10-15 year olds across Western Europe has declined, particularly sharply for girls, and that by age 12, girls consistently report lower levels of life satisfaction than boys. These trends are seen in high income countries only: elsewhere, young people are reporting increased levels of happiness and life satisfaction since 2019.

The full report is here.

2. Teachers at Solihull school to be given one day off a fortnight

It feels like every week there’s new research revealing the extent of the teacher recruitment and retention crisis across English schools. St. Peter’s Catholic School in Solihull was in the news this week after it announced its new measures to improve staff wellbeing and attract new teachers. From September, the school will be launching a trial of a nine-day fortnight for its teaching staff. The length of teachers’ working days, and their pay, will be unaffected by the trial. The trial will involve the launch of a rota system, with teachers unable to choose their day off to ensure the school always has the staff it needs. Before the scheme has even been launched, it appears to be working: headteacher Stuart Shelton told the BBC that following its announcement the school has seen more responses to its job adverts.

Read more here.

3. Only one in five children believe their voices are listened to by politicians, new report finds

A new report by the Children’s Commissioner, Dame Rachel De Souza, has found that only one in five children believe their views are important to the adults who run the country, and that just 10% of teenagers feel they can influence changes to issues they care about. The report, based on a survey of children and young people from across the country, was launched in parliament this week. Its recommendations include ending the practice of profit-making in children’s homes, raising the age of criminal responsibility, and calling for every child to receive an annual health check from a school nurse.

The full report is here.

4. New NEF report calls for a ‘National Skilling Wage’ to plug skills gaps and support lifelong learning

A new report by the New Economics Foundation has called for the creation of a ‘National Skilling Wage’ to provide workers and businesses with the financial stability and confidence to commit to retraining. The NSW would help solve the UK’s workforce skills shortages by making training easier, more desirable, and, crucially, more affordable. It would also replace the current student finance system, which is not fit for purpose for 18-25 year old students and is an undesirable way for mid-career adults to fund further training.

The full report is here.

5. Home ownership rates among young people have increased slightly, new Resolution Foundation data reveals

There has been a small uptick in the number of 19-29 year old home owners, new data from the Resolution Foundation has shown. However, rates of home ownership among young people still fall far behind the average across all age groups in the country. Less than 15% of young people in the UK own their own home, compared to a national average of over 50%. Other notable findings in the data is that the share of households with dependent children that live in the private rented sector has increased by two and a half times since the early 2000s, highlighting the lack of availability of social or council housing for families.

The full report is here.